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Epipremnum pinnatum

 

Botanical Name

Epipremnum pinnatum

Synonyms

Adpendix laciniata Rumph, Pothos pinnata Linn., Rhaphidophora vitiensis Schott.  [1]

Family

Araceae

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Money plant, Dragon Tail Plant
South Pacific Rauv aru (Rotuman); Wa yalu, Alu, Naca, Yalu (Fiji); Lau mai’a, Fuel au fao (Samoa); Alu (Tonga); Vropka (Papua New Guinea); Ragdalo (Vanuatu)  [2] [4] [5] [6]

Description

Epipremnum pinnatum is a member of the Araceae family. It is a small stout climber. The leaves are alternate ovate to oblong 25 – 45 cm long. The juvenile form is entire but become deeply dissected in the adult form. The spathe is whitish and about 10 cm long. [3] [6]

Distribution

It is commonly found in the rainforest ranging from Myanmar to the Philippines and the South Pacific Islands. [6]

Plant Use

It has been introduced globally as an ornamental plant. In the Fiji Islands the stem is believed to have contraceptive properties while the liquid expressed from the stem is used as menstrual regulator and promoter of fertility. [6]

Toxic Parts

Stem and leaves

Toxin

Water-insoluble calcium oxalate raphides. Mechanism of action is basically mechanical stimulation of the crystalline calcium oxalate needles which is released in a projectile fashion upon chewing. The needles upon penetrating the mucous membrane excite the release of histamine and other inflammatory mediators. [7]

Risk Management

The used of this plant as an ornamental is not widespread, however, recently in Malaysia it has been promoted as an anticancer remedy amongst the Chinese community. If proper method of detoxifying it is carried out, there should not be much danger of poisoning.

Clinical Findings

Upon chewing on the leaf an immediate intense pain in the mouth occurs. This will automatically limit the progress of poisoning. [7]

Management

Prehospital care:

1.     Remove all traces of plant material from areas contaminated with it i.e. mouth, eye and skin, immediately. Rescuers should ensure they are protected from contact with these plant materials.

2.     Exposed areas should be copiously irrigates with water.

3.     If ingested, the mouth should be repeatedly rinsed with cool water or a demulcent.

4.     Provide analgesics if pain is severe.

Emergency Department care

1.     Oral exposure – Asses airway for any signs of compromise. Those without compromised airway can be given cold liquids, crushed ice or ice cream for relief. Keeping or swishing antihistamine liquid like diphenhydramine in the mouth can provide local anaesthetic and antihistaminic effects. Those with evidence of laryngeal oedema can be treated with antihistamines and observed or better admitted until oedema subsides.

2.     Eye exposures – Copious irrigation with water. Rule out corneal involvement by performing slit-lap examination with fluorescein staining.

 

3.   Skin exposures – Washing with soap and water suffice, and local wound care it there exist any wounds. Some people may develop contact dermatitis. [7] [8]

 

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  1) Botanical Info

References

1.     Dassanayake MD., A Revised Handbook of the Flora of Ceylon Volume VI, Model Press, New Delhi 1988 pg. 32

2.     Glen HF., Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa: Botanical Names, Common Names, Origin Jacana Education, Johannesburg, 2002, pg. 48

3.     Keng H., Chin SC., Tan HTW., The Concise Flora of Singapore: Monocotyledons, Volume 2 Singapore University Press Singapore 1998 pg. 41

4.     Ng PKL., Tan HTW., Singapore Biodiversity: An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research 2011, pg. 229

5.     Inia EKM., A New Rotuman Dictionary: An English-Rotuman Wordlist, University of South Pacific, Fiji 1998, pg. 100

6.     Cambie RC., Brewis A., Anti-Fertility Plants of the Pacific, CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, 1997 pg. 30

7.     Nelson L, Shih RD, Balick MJ. Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants. New York Botanical Garden New York 2007; p. 98 – 99.

8.    Oxalate Poisoning. [Cited on 2011 April 20]. Available from: http://misc.medscape.com/pi/android/medscapeapp/html/A817016-business.html

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